But they don’t.
And the trapeze artist free falls through the air as the ground–or net or sandbags–rushes up to meet him or her? Can you imagine what it must feel like physically to free-fall through air arms reaching out, hands grasping at the air and than landings with full force on the sandbags or net? Your body would most likely be in pain, bruised, perhaps torn. But what about the emotional impact of trusting that your partner would be there to catch you and he isn’t Let’s up the ainty a bit. Let’s go on to say not only was the partner not there to catch you, he or she (for some reason) swings out to meet you and at the last minute pulls their arms in and let’s you fall. Och. The pain of rejection is worse than the bruises from the drop, and in truth, take longer to heal. Sad to say, in business and in life, there are times when the people we are depending on and trust pull their arms in and let us fall.
How do you respond when someone you respect, love, or trust rejects you? What do you do when a partner or parent does something unexpected with full knowledge that it will hurt you emotionally, financially, and physically (due to the stress induced)? How do you deal with real people who do really hurtful things to you directly? I have some suggestions. Let me tell you a story.
A few post/articles ago, I wrote about real forgiveness. I took on calling my birth mother, Momma, because I knew she was going to have a major operation on her back that could leave her paralyzed. I called and talked with her for 17 minutes and I could her that she was scared. After I hung-up the phone, the thought that came to my head and my heart was, “I should fly to Baltimore to help.” This would be a first. I never felt safe or strong enough to be back in that environment and not succumb to it. But Spirit was with me and I am not who I use to be nor is Momma. I prayed on it, mediated on it, talked with trusted people about it and decided to go.
I called Momma again to find out about the times and the actual procedure. She said I scared her because she was not use to hearing from me twice in a row so quickly. I told her my plans to come and offered a helping hand. She was genuinely surprised, moved, and a little embarrassed by my offer. I let it be and we agreed that I would come. I then went and bought the planet ticket and made the arrangements to be there for 9 days. (I am now on the trapeze.)
Two weeks later, last Monday to be precise, I get a letter in the mail from Momma. I open the letter (I am swinging back on the trapeze) and read. She writes that she doesn’t want me to come. (I’m reaching.) And then she goes on to write how I am responsible for my deceased sister’s children being abused (She pulls her hands back) and that it is all my fault. (I am free falling through the air.) The wind is knocked from my body as I hit the concrete and my heart bleeds. Two days later I get a call from her begrudgingly stating that it is OK to come and she will be nice for the sake of the family. Do you go or do you stay away? Do you become vengeful and withhold yourself or do you get nasty, go, and make everyone miserable? Here are are some Street Smarts Strategic Visioning tools to help you decide:
1. Process the pain: It took me two whole days to get my body to calm down. I recommend yoga, prayer, hot bathes, and meditation when you are emotionally side-blinded. Envelop yourself with people who love you and who reflect your greatness back to you until you can see yourself the way they see you. Go to your Circle of Trust and let them love up on you.
2. Remember your purpose: My intention was to go to serve. Considering that Momma and I are not close, she has a right to have the people she feels comfortable with near her during this difficult time. While doing a walking meditation, I realized that my purpose for going was to serve and to help. I could do that from afar. I could drive my little sister around, baby sit, and clean. I could serve and share myself in a way that had everyone win.
3. Bring peace by locating innocence: As I was doing my walking meditation, I could hear Spirit talk with me saying, Momma is not wicked; she is wounded. Wounded people wound others. I realized that her request for me to not come had to do with her inability to accept a gift that was pure. She was not hurting me, she was hurt and I happen to be the canvas where it could be clearly seen. The moment I could locate her innocence, my heart started to heal itself.
4. Plan for support: Because I am walking into an unknown, I have friends and peers who are available to offer me support, a place to stay or a sympathetic ear if I need it. Identify ahead of time what sort of support structures, formal and informal (i.e., AA, CODA, AL-ANON, church) you need to take care of you while you honor your purpose.
5. Permission to prosper: Up until this incident, I did not realize how much fear I was carrying with regard to being known in the world. I have been secretly afraid that Momma would come out of the woodwork and discredit me and say that I was lying. I also never wanted to villainize her. Momma does not need my protection. My experience is not a part of her. She is a big person and can handle the truth. My truth. When you are rejected look to see what the attachment, the hope that is the true source of your pain and identify what you would need to say or do to be free from that expectation, assumption, or wish. For me it was simple: Momma has been telling me since I was a child that she did not want me, that if she could have she would have aborted me, and to get out. Up until this incident, I have left in hopes that she would love me and want me back. This time, I am staying. I am going home not for Momma, but for me to be true to who I am for myself. And in so doing, I can still honor her request. It’s not about pain; it’s not about punishment. It’s about peace. We both prosper.
When you are rejected by others, when you give you best and they say no, please remember: they are reacting to something that has nothing to do with you. Honor the original purpose for your actions and look to see how you can bring grace to a situation, particularly when people have been awful. Reward rejection with grace and mercy. By so doing you will prosper with a peace that surpasses understand inwardly and in the world.
With all the love my heart can hold…